Zahra Rasouli and Abbas Khakpour listen intently in Civics class. Photo: Anna Watts.
Astoria, NY -Abbas Khakpour and Zahra Rasouli are a husband and wife who moved to the US from Iran together. They did so over five years ago but started coming to CIANA separately. Rassouli first came to CIANA during the summer, while Khakpour started coming in January.
They first came to CIANA because they needed help preparing for the citizenship exam. This year, they were able to apply for citizenship, and are among the most enthusiastic students in CIANA's ESL and Civics classes.
As to why they chose to become citizens, they said, that they wanted to be able to vote and become full members of their community.
“I would love to become a part of the American community and society,” Rasouli says. “I would love to be a part of the country.”
Since starting at CIANA, the couple has come to love the organization.
“We’re very happy here, grateful for the staff and the teachers,” Khakpour says. “There are all of these hundreds of questions and because of you, I feel confident that I’ll be able to answer them on the test.”
Although they haven’t scheduled a citizenship exam yet, they say that they feel ready to take the exam. And as the year draws to a close, they’re both very thankful for the opportunities that the US presents, though mostly, they’re thankful for family.
“I am thankful to be here, in this great country, next to my family and children, to have an opportunity to become a part of this country,” Rassouli says. “And I’m thankful for all the people and for the world to be happy.”